3 Tips To Make Your Home More Energy Efficient
Whether it’s because you’re trying to cut costs or you just want to minimize your carbon footprint, improving your home’s energy efficiency is a lofty goal. There are many ways to do this and numerous checklists available online to help you in your journey, but sometimes the amount of information on this subject can be overwhelming. While ideas like changing out lightbulbs and unplugging appliances when not in use definitely have their merits, the crux of the problem is that many homes are simply not energy efficient. Here are three tips for improving your home’s energy efficiency so that you stop wasting energy.
Insulate, Insulate, Insulate
The importance of insulation cannot be overstated. You can have the most energy efficient furnace and still not have a very efficient home. Lack of insulation and other leaks mean letting heat out in the winter and in during the summer, requiring your furnace and your air conditioning to work that much harder in order to maintain the desired temperature. The same goes for your water heater and pipes. Heat transference causes you to turn the hot up higher and the water heater to work harder to keep up.
Have insulation blown into the walls to compensate for no insulation or settled insulation in older homes. Lay about a foot of insulation in the attic to prevent heat from escaping through the ceiling in the winter. Caulk cracks or gaps in corners and along window and door frames.
Use weather stripping in windows and doors to improve seal. Insulate your air ducts, water heater, and/or pipes to prevent energy loss.
Watch Out for Your Windows
Besides a lack of proper insulation, windows are one of the primary sources of energy inefficiency. Most people assume the only way to rectify this is to get all new energy efficient windows, but this may not be the case. If improving energy efficiency is the only reason you are replacing your windows, it might not be as cost effective as you think. If you have cracked or damaged windows, or are replacing them anyway, then by all means look for more energy efficient replacements.
If you aren’t replacing your windows, there are still ways to prevent energy loss. It might seem obvious, but of course you’ll want to keep the windows closed when you’re heating or cooling the house. In addition, energy saving curtains can slow or prevent heat transfer, keeping rooms warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. You can also use heat transfer to your advantage in the winter by opening curtains when the sun comes in and taking advantage of the sun’s natural heat. Just don’t forget to close them again as the sun moves or sets!
Upgrade to Modern Appliances
One of the significant sources of energy inefficiency in most homes is the use of old, outdated appliances, furnaces, and air conditioning units. Older units weren’t designed with modern standards of energy efficiency, for one thing, but also may have become even greater energy hogs over the years due to age and lack of maintenance. Frequently people continue using these older appliances, thinking they’re getting their money’s worth by using them until they die, but older appliances could actually be costing you significantly more in energy costs, not to mention expanding your carbon footprint.
When you go shopping for new appliances, put energy efficiency at the top of your priorities list. ENERGY STAR appliances will give energy specs and examples of the kind of savings you can expect, so that you know how much you’re saving by upgrading. A high efficiency furnace and a modern air conditioner will also go a long ways toward cutting your costs. Finally, consider exchanging your older thermostat for a programmable or even a “smart” thermostat, which will help you save money and increase efficiency by prioritizing heating and cooling for times when people are home and awake.
An energy efficient home is easier on your budget and the environment, making it a win-win. For more information about how we can help, call Maeser at 502-266-6545 or schedule service online.